Sunday 30 June 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 29th June 2024

Over the last couple of weeks we've had quite a few outings and events on our calendar.   Darren and I enjoyed a weekend in the city to celebrate Darren's birthday.  This was a last minute surprise getaway that I'd been saving for for almost 12 months. We enjoyed a buffet breakfast each morning,  no lunch ( we were still full ) and room service for dinner ( cheaper than the restaurant downstairs ).  Of course we took home all the freebie goodies they gave us including bottles of water each day and little tins of mints with our dinner.

We also enjoyed a trip to see an AFL  football game,  a family dinner for Darren and Jessica's birthday and Luka's Auskick awards night.

Here's how we saved money over the last couple of weeks -

*  I baked three loaves of wholemeal bread every second week.  We use this bread as toast for our breakfasts every morning.

*  We went to the football a few weeks ago.  This is our once a year tradition that we started when our girls were very little.  Unfortunately we couldn't go in 2020 and 2021 due to obvious reasons. In  2022 we were still reeling from the loss of my father and in 2023 it was impossible to get tickets.  So for 2024 Darren got in super early to buy tickets online.  We took a backpack each with a bottle of water,  snacks,  a blanket and all the extra cold weather clothing needed for the trip home.  By taking our snacks and water,  we easily saved  $25 - $30.

*  I dried as much washing as possible on clothes horses over the ducted heating vent in our spare bathroom.  Some items of clothing dries in one hour.

*  I made a trip to Hindustan Imports in Dandenong to stock up on bulk herbs and spices.

*  I gratefully received lots of supermarket brown paper bags from a cleaning client.  We use them under the kitchen sink for our rubbish.

*  I cooked up a bulk amount of beef stew in the slow cooker.  Once we'd eaten some for dinner I portioned the rest up into 1 and 2 serves and froze them.  This form of bulk cooking has saved us 23% on our electricity bill over the last 6 months.

*  Now that I'm making our own muesli bars,  I've been going through a lot more peanut butter.  I found some on clearance in Woolworths and it was much cheaper than the generic brand.  So I cleared the shelf of the remaining stock.  The best before date is next year but I've found peanut butter can last another year or two if kept in a cool dark place.

*  Megan and I made a trip to Costco.  My main reason was to buy beef mince and a cooked chicken. I'd been saving my leftover grocery money for 6 months to buy these 2 items.   We did go halves on their bulk eggs which was about the same price as the cheapest eggs in the supermarket but they were much bigger.  Woolworths is selling 1 dozen eggs ( 500g  which is tiny ) for $5.  I also picked up glasses wipes,  roll on deodorant ( $2 ),  cuppa soups for Darren's lunches ( $1.25 per box ),and a few other items.

*  I bought a huge bunch of celery for $1.99 at a fruit and veg shop.  I used my Nicer Dicer to finely dice it all and it only took about 10 minutes.  I froze it all into ice cube trays and added a little water to each cube.  Once frozen,  they were easy to pop out and place in a snap lock bag for future stews,  soups and casseroles.

*  I made wholemeal rolls for Darren's work lunches.   Darren also gratefully received a portion of ham which he thinly sliced to enjoy in the rolls with homemade tomato relish.

*  I made a whole orange cake using gifted oranges.  I find baking cakes in various sizes and freezing some of them prevents any wastage.

*  We have enjoyed more of our homemade muesli bars for work morning teas.

*  I made up a bottle of surface cleaning spray with cooled boiled water and kitchen detergent.

*  I gratefully received lots of lemons.

*  Our bathroom bins were lined with saved and recycled bread bags.  I also save the bread tags and reuse them when I'm freezing our homemade bread.

    LINKS -

Whole Orange Cake

Wholemeal Bread With Extra Goodness

Freezing celery

Darren on his birthday in the city


                                                   Our stay at The Langham in Melbourne

Collingwood's 2023 AFL Premiership Cup 

Melbourne in Winter

                                                          A few cards I've made recently 

How have you saved time,  money and energy this week ?

Sunday 9 June 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 8th June 2024

It's been one of those weeks where I haven't done a lot frugal - wise.  Yes the housework has been done,  I've been to work,  done a little gardening and cooked and baked.  

Many of the frugal things I do are just second nature and I don't think twice about them.  I save a little water here and there,  use up leftovers,  turn the lights off when I leave the room and reuse anything I can.

Here is my very short frugal list for the week -

*  I made 2 batches of muesli bars.  One had chopped nuts in it and the other had more cereals and fruit.  Both turned out beautifully and we are both enjoying them.

*  I juiced and zested the last of the free lemons.  Both the zest and juice has been frozen for future cooking,  baking and cordial making.

*  I mended 2 more pairs of Darren's favourite character socks.  I'm trying to keep them going for as long as possible because Luka and Bryson love to see Poppy wearing them.

*  I dried some flowers from an arrangement Darren took home from a charity event.  If they dry nicely the plan it to put them in a vase / jug with some artificial flowers I already have on display.

*  I cleaned the kettle with citric acid.  I also cleaned my clients kettles too.  

*  I cleaned the dishwasher filters and gave the dishwasher a good cleanout on a long hot cycle with vinegar and bi carb.

*  I made up a bottle of surface spray using cooled boiled water and dishwashing liquid.  I use this to clean my whole kitchen and the bathrooms.

*  I cleaned both the ovens using magic erasers and dishwashing liquid.  

*  I gratefully received more free lemons.

*  I picked silverbeet from our garden for a couple of meals.

Lots of pantry staples

Growing potatoes in Winter

Homemade muesli bars

Our mandirins will be ready to pick soon.

How have you saved money this week ?

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Crunchy Muesli Bars

 Muesli bars were only one of the few convenience foods still on my shopping list.  That was until 2 months ago.  Have you seen the price of muesli bars lately ?  Oh  my goodness  !!!!  Hardly anything is under $5 a box of 5 - 6 bars and most are drizzled with unnecessary chocolate or a yoghurt type topping.  It's rare to find a half price sale too.

So this led me on a hunt to find a delicious muesli bar recipe that I could afford to make.  I wanted something crunchy,  or at least slightly crunchy,  it had to include pantry staples and needed to have ingredients I could interchange  according to our tastes and budget.

I found a recipe through a Google search,  changed it a few times until I came up with something both Darren and I look forward to eating when we are at work.  The bars are not super sweet but we found they were sweet enough.  Each bar weighs about 15g more than store bought ones so this is a bonus.  The final recipe doesn't really resemble the original recipe so I'll claim it as my own.

1 cup of Rolled Oats

1 Wheat Bix ( crushed )

1/4 cup of corn flakes ( crushed )

1/2 cup of Dried Fruit of choice.  I used sultanas,  dried apricots ( diced ) and cranberries

3/4 cup of Chopped Nuts.  I used cashews and walnuts

1/3 cup of  Honey

1/4 cup of Peanut Butter.  I used crunchy but any will do

3/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of Salt

1/4 cup of Choc Bits.  I used small generic ones.

Spread the oats and nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.

Pour the honey into a measuring jug and microwave for about 20  - 30 seconds until it is runny.  

Add the peanut butter to the honey and stir until well combined.

Once the oats and nuts are toasted and cooled,  place in a large mixing bowl with the wheat bix and corn flakes.

Add the dried fruits,  cinnamon,  salt and choc bits.  Mix well.

Add the combined honey and peanut butter to all the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is coated.

Place the mixture in a lined oblong oven slice tray.  Press down with a potato masher or wet fingers until it is even and firm.

Refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.

Remove the slice from the oven tray and cut into 10 bars with a sharp knife.  Neaten and firm the edges of the bars if needed.

Place the bars on a lined oven tray ( larger than the slice tray ) and space them apart.

Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 20 - 25 minutes.

Cool on the tray for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.  

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. 


*  Wheat bix,  rice bubbles,  corn flakes or similar cereals could be used as long as the rolled oats and cereals total 1 1/2 cups worth.

*  Use dried fruit of your choice providing it's fairly small.

*  The choc bits are an optional extra.

*  Use nuts of your choice.  

*  20 minutes of baking will give slightly crunchy bars with a bit of give.  25 minutes will make them completely crunchy.

Baked muesli bars

Ready for baking.

Have you tried making your own muesli bars ?

What flavour combination would you add to your muesli bars ?

Saturday 1 June 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 1st June 2024

 Thankyou for popping in to read my latest blog post.  I'm sorry I haven't posted anything over the last couple of weeks.  I came down with a bad cold 2 days after Mother's Day.  I took a week off from work as soon as I felt sick thinking this would knock it on the head.  Unfortunately it didn't and I dragged myself to my cleaning jobs in the second week,  came home each time and sat until dinner.  I've almost recovered and now Darren has a bit of a cold.

I'm grateful I didn't get a chest infection this time and extremely grateful for freezer meals to keep us fed.  Darren helped get the meals reheated on the days I couldn't.

Here's what we've been up to over the last 2 weeks -

*  I bought 2 bulk trays of chicken drumsticks and made 10 dump bags to freeze for future meals.  Dump bags are when you place meat,  seasonings and sauces into a snap lock bag to freeze for easy meals in the slow cooker.  I've watched many YouTube videos about this and usually they use lots of beans,  tinned soups,  packets and ready made sauces with little or no veggies added.   I made up my own meals by adding lots of veggies,  seasonings and sauces from scratch.    I defrost the bag overnight in the fridge and place in a casserole dish for cooking in the oven.  The only other thing I need to cook is either rice or potatoes.  We've already had 2 meals and they've been delicious and easy.

*  I made a second batch of muesli bars and adjusted the recipe I originally found.  They turned out even better than the batch I made 2 weeks earlier.  I'll share the recipe in the next week or so.

*  I made up a big batch of pita chips from pita bread.  We enjoy them with a slices of cheese or dip if we have visitors.

*  Over the last 2 weeks I've made wholemeal bread with extra goodness twice ( 2 weeks apart ).  I always reuse old bread bags to store the sliced bread in the freezer.

*  I made 2 lemon slices for a catering order.

*  I've been reusing our last menu plan.  We loved it so much there was no need to rework another one.

*  I gratefully received free lemons and mandarins from 2 cleaning clients.  Our lemon tree has been struggling the last couple of years so the free lemons are a real blessing.

*  I made bread rolls for Darren's work lunches.

*  Darren gratefully received a garden chipper ( mulcher ) from a couple of friends who no longer needed it.  Darren has started chopping up the pruned raspberry canes from our garden.  Then he'll be moving onto the other plants I've pruned.  He plans to put all the clippings into the compost bin.

*  I gratefully received paper supermarket bags from a couple of people.  They make wonderful rubbish bags in the kitchen.

*  Megan and I made a trip to Savers op shop.  I found a couple of Winter tops and a long coat.  I used a 20% off voucher and the coat ( Witchery brand probably worth close to $200 ) came down to $10.  A bargain and I need it too.

*  We fed grass,  weeds and bread crusts to our chicken.

*  We picked a few lemons,  feijoas ( the last of them for this year ) and beans.

*  I made a big pot of chunky chicken and veggie soup.  We had it for dinner that night and the rest went into the freezer.

*  Our grandson Bryson and I baked ANZAC biscuits.  Some were for Jessica's birthday present and the others were to help with her afternoon tea.

*  Darren filled up both our cars while petrol is cheap.  He used 3 different apps and stacked them to get an extra 12 cents a litre off.

Gifted lemons

Homemade muesli bars

How have you saved time,  money or energy this week ?